Friday, January 18, 2013
Valpo's big win
By Matt Giles
When Valparaiso lost to Loyola in early January, observers of the Horizon League wondered if the loss of Butler this past offseason had brought about a change in the conference. Illinois-Chicago breezed through three-quarters of their non-conference schedule and the Ramblers appeared to be a squad that could potentially garner the league's automatic bid.
However, in the recent clash between Valparaiso and Detroit, it became clear that Valpo might be the frontrunner throughout the 2013 conference slate. The Crusaders scored 1.17 points per possession, and while Detroit isn't the best defensive team in the Horizon -- they allow almost one PPP -- their offense is regarded as the most explosive; in the Valpo loss, Ray McCallum's squad managed to score 1.20 PPP but couldn't contain Valpo or star forward Kevin Van Wijk. At one point, Valpo was down by 22 points and still managed to offensively out-perform Detroit.
It is difficult to predict if there are any other teams capable of challenging Valpo, but their next game should prove interesting. Wright State is holding league teams to a whopping .89 PPP and could prove a handful for Bryce Drew's squad.